Content Exchange

The Minnesota State Climatology Office reported that large hail fell near Clear Lake, Minn., on July 26. That’s where A&L Peterson Farms are located.

A cluster of severe thunderstorms just north of the Twin Cities produced hail that ranged from pea- to grapefruit-sized.

“Ahead of the cold front, warm and unstable air surged northward throughout the state,” according to the climate office. “As thunderstorms formed, strong winds aloft created enough wind shear to allow the cells to isolate themselves and begin rotating, which enabled these ‘supercell’ thunderstorms to become unusually strong and damaging.”

Sheltered in their home, Ryan and Whitney Peterson and children wondered what they would find when the hail stopped falling. They thought the crops would be destroyed, but fortunately the short-lived hail storm came through as a narrow band.

The farm site, where the Petersons and Ryan’s grandmother both have homes, was severely hit. Their homes will need new shingles, gutters and siding. All of the outbuilding roofs, including the grain bins and the cattle sheds, will need to be replaced.

“Some days, I don’t know if I’d rather have the damage to the buildings or the damage to the crops,” said Ryan.

There was some crop damage, but it will be harvest before the Petersons and crop adjusters can put a percentage on the loss.

Ryan worried about the ripe Bono Hybrid Rye. Fortunately, those fields were not hit hard. Combining began on Aug. 3, for the crop planted last September.

They used their Case IH rotary combine with draper/platform header. Ryan likes to keep the head up about 4 inches off the ground. The straw was sent out the back into a windrow and was then picked up to produce about 5.5 big round bales per acre. Yield was about 75 bushels per acre. Ryan had hoped for closer to 100 bushels an acre but it was the first time they had planted it. In fact, they contracted ahead for about 50 bushels per acre, so there was a lot of bushels to sell on the open market.

“Being it’s our first year, we have to figure out what our yield limiting factors are,” said Ryan.

They hoped to finish up harvest the week of Aug. 4-10.

Most of the rye will be delivered to Malt One Grain Elevator in Minneapolis. The first load was delivered on Aug. 5, and passed the grain specifications required for the contract.

“I had no discounts as far as they are concerned. They test it before they let you dump it, and my net bushels were the same as my gross bushels. That is what I hoped for,” he said, adding that the falling numbers test is very important to pass. “They test the falling numbers right away, and if it’s bad they reject it. When you sit and wait for the green light to dump, and you see that, you know you’re good.”

Other items on the farm included fertigating one field of kidney beans at pod-fill with a 28 percent nitrogen/ammonium thiosulfate solution. Applied at a rate of 7.5 gallons per acre, it was the first time they have tried this.

“Kidney beans don’t make their own nitrogen like soybeans, so they need to be fertilized,” he said. “It all comes down to a cost-affect ratio. At the end of the year, we’ll find out if it was worth it or not.”

The final load of fat cattle were shipped with a finishing weight average of 1,455 pounds. This was pretty impressive given these were the tail-enders that generally don’t finish out as easily.

“The last load is the bottom-enders of a group – they tend to ‘go on’ for a while. So, when they all weighed well that was good to see,” Ryan said. “Now I just need to buy 100 head or so.”

0816 Rye Harvest.jpg – Photo by Ryan Peterson taken from the combine during Bono Hybrid Rye harvest. The straw is baled for the cattle operation.

0816 hail.jpg – Large hail at the Peterson farm site. Photo by Ryan Peterson.

This article originally ran on

Stay Informed